Loving it all — Wapak WaterPark tops area as best pool

Six years ago, only a small rectangular pool attracted on average approximately 30 patrons daily. Attendance numbers had fallen off from the hundreds that would crowd the pool during the 1950s and 1960s.
On July 4, 2008, the Wapakoneta WaterPark opened with a zero-entry pool, a three-loop water slide and two diving boards into a competition pool and the attendance numbers soared. The numbers climbed higher the next year as a speed slide was added.
During the past three years, Wapakoneta Recreation Director and WaterPark General Manager Jack Hayzlett says he, his staff and the community should be proud of the fact the Wapakoneta WaterPark has been voted the Best Place to Go Swimming in the Lima region according to the Lima News and the Wapakoneta Daily News.
“I believe we have a really great facility, everything everybody wants along with music, chairs and food besides the water features of the diving boards, slides and the two pools,” Hayzlett said. “I never anticipated how popular the zero-entry pool would be. The great thing is depending on the size of the child they can go in as far as they want.”
He points to toddlers wading in water just above their ankles. He also directs attention to adults sitting in new chairs purchased this year enjoying the spray off the equipment, sunshine keeping their faces warm and children running about them.
“We really strive to do the best that we can and when you are No. 1 in the Lima area then you are doing the right things,” Hayzlett said, explaining the facility won the top spot in 2010 and there were no rankings in 2011 and 2012 for the Lima News and the aquatic spot has won since it opened for the Wapakoneta Daily News. “Not only do we have great facilities but, like today, we try to do things with that facility that makes it unique.
“I think it helps people realize we are trying to do the right thing,” he said. “We have good rules, we have good lifeguards and I am proud of our safety record. I am proud of the staff and the fact the children and the adults love it here — it is tribute to our facility.”
Nate Roa, of Wapakoneta, is a testament to Hayzlett’s beliefs. Nate kept climbing the stairs to the top of the two slides — showing a preference for the speed slide.
“I liked the slides at the pool and the pool,” the 9-year-old says with a slight pause, “and the two diving boards. I love everything.”
Eleven-year-old Megan Alexander seconded his opinion as she climbs the ladder out of the pool and starts the walk back to the stairs.
“I really like the slides,” Megan said. “I also like the high dive.”
Keeping an eye on Nate and Megan as they fly off the slide into a spray of water as they hit the wading pool is 18-year-old lifeguard Ryan Rosenbeck.
“We have a lot more than what most other places have,” Rosenbeck said. “We have good management and a good staff from the concession stand to the front desk, from the lifeguards to the maintenance staff.
“It is a fun place to be. We have water slides and diving boards — what else do you need,” he said. “We have a lot to offer the children and the adults and we are always working on changing things up to keep things fresh.”
Logan Healy, 7, and Lauren Healy, 4, swim in the children’s pool and echo the other kids’ comments.
“I really like swimming in the water,” Logan said, referring to the zero-entry pool and the competition pool. “I like the slides a lot, too.”
Their father, Andrew Healy, shared his own reasons for feeling comfortable bringing his two children to the Wapakoneta WaterPark.
“I like the fact there is a family atmosphere here and they keep things very positive for the family,” Healy said. “The two pools are very welcoming to the family and the events they have are great for kids of all ages.”
Lauren summed up most of everyone’s sentiments there on Saturday.
“I love pretty much everything here.”